Bernar Venet has practiced for over 50 years to create an exceptional body of work that employs a completely unique conceptual language. Widely credited as one of the pioneers of the conceptual movement, Venet was already experimenting with tar, cardboard and sound in the parade ground of his barracks, whilst carrying out military service in his twenties.
In 1966 Bernar Venet moved to New York where he aligned himself with the avant-garde, creating close friendships with artists such as Joseph Kosuth, On Kawara, Sol LeWitt and Lawrence Weiner. A seminal early installation work by Venet, Tas de Charbon (pile of Coal), is acknowledged as the first sculpture without a formal shape. The artist then suspended his studio practice, deciding to redirect his attention to philosophy, teaching at the eminent cultural theory school the Sorbonne in Paris for 5 years. This influence inspired a new approach to his artistic practice, which upon return in 1976, focused predominantly on the subject of the line.
Inspired by mathematical explorations into equilibrium, chance, order and disorder, and the relationship with the environment, Venet has created an impressive and colossal body of work composed of arcs, angles, straight and indeterminate lines, which have now come to define Venet’s sculptural aesthetic. These works are constructed out of russet-coloured cor-ten steel, a material more typically employed in large-scale industry such as bridge construction and the manufacture of shipping containers. Venet believes that no other material is able to absorb and reflect natural light quite as well as cor-ten steel; making it the most perfect material for monumental outdoor sculpture.